The workforce is becoming more mobile than ever before, and the capable tablet is a growing reason why. It is why the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is in the news so much, as many want to bring the tablet to work. The tablet frees folks up to work almost anywhere, in large part because mobile OSes have evolved to provide powerful mobile experiences.
Right now I am working as I do every day, performing all the tasks I need to do, dealing with work issues as they come up, and writing this column. It is business as usual, except I am at the car dealership having my auto repaired.
While I am sitting here in the waiting room, a team of mechanics is trying to figure out (and hopefully repair) the air conditioning on my SUV. That's a critical repair in the humid Texas Gulf Coast, as summer is approaching which turns cars without A/C into death traps.
Those who follow this column probably aren't surprised about my working here. I've worked in various venues and covered it. Heck, I even worked in the ICU after an accident so working in the repair shop is a piece of cake.
I point this out as it is significant that I am able to work without compromise in the most unlikely of places due to an outstanding mobile platform and a tablet that is as capable as any computer. I won't detail which platform or tablet I am using as I don't want discussion to turn into flame wars. The point is it doesn't matter, I could be using an Android tablet, iPad, or even the BlackBerry Playbook. Any of those tools are up to the challenge I regularly throw at them.
This is a good time to be a mobile enthusiast, as the tools have grown wonderfully in the last few years. The hardware is simply great, and the platforms that drive it just as good. Sure, there is always room for improvement but the fact is what we have is already pretty darn good.
This is why Microsoft is so anxious to get in the mobile space with tablets, as they see the future. The decision to constrict Windows Phone to phone hardware is hurting them in this mobile revolution. This is why Windows 8, and particularly Windows RT on ARM tablets, is so important to the folks at Redmond.
Windows RT has a big opportunity on ARM tablets, as a large segment of consumers I hear from regularly do not believe the other mobile platforms are capable of doing real work. That's not true in my experience, but it plays into Microsoft's hands with Windows RT tablets.
This is why it is vital for Microsoft to get Windows RT right, and in particular the browser. Microsoft's mobile browsers have fallen short in the past, and this cannot happen with Windows RT. Having a browser on Windows RT that requires excuses will be fatal. It is time for excellence, not excuses with Internet Explorer on Windows RT.
Today's apps are nice tools to use for working anywhere, but even when they are lacking the mobile browser usually steps in when needed. Browsers on every mobile platform have evolved into near desktop equivalents, and they can be used without compromise almost all the time.
They are based on Webkit, which has shown to be a marvelous platform for mobile browsers. They work well on both tablet and smartphone hardware, and have been optimized nicely for each type of gadget.
Adoption of tablets and mobile platforms will ramp up as more get exposed to the ability to work without walls (even cubicle partitions). More folks will push to bring their personal gadgetry to work, and the BYOD movement is going to gain legs as a result. Microsoft cannot affort to sit out this revolution, and better be great at the Windows RT launch.